Cruel Summer (Signs)

The sweet sip of summer

The sweet sip of summer

How sad the Back to School sale.

Every child regards the summer as sacred. I know there are those who would alter the education calendar so that students might be toiling away twelve months of the year but, really, think of that special place in time you would be denying all succeeding generations. Summer is not summer because the sun happens to be high in the sky. Summer is summer because it is the one season where banality is banished and routine is what you make it, if you choose to make it at all.

When I was a kid (skipping through flowered fields under sunny skies in pursuit of butterflies) the earliest you might have seen a Back to School sale sign (or heard a commercial) was the middle of August. Now, it seems, children barely have time to put down their books and kick off their shoes in June before this buzz-killing marketing blitz is launched.

Every child has an internal seasonal clock. You don’t have to tell anyone under 12 that the summer is waning. And you certainly don’t need to taint the visual space with a screaming reminder in every other store window. It seems downright cruel. They used to hold out the promise of a new set of coloured pencils as if that were any kind of suitable compensation for the death of summer. Now it’s laptops and tablets and e-readers and phones that constitute the bribe. But nothing can fill the gap of a summer now spent.

Summer is too damn fleeting and precious to be polluted by any reference to school. And, frankly, there oughta be a law.

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4 Responses to “Cruel Summer (Signs)”

  1. I turn 55 this year. My wife says we have 20 “summers” together at full speed. That makes it so real because we understand summers,
    so well…autumn, less so. How many summers do we all have? Savour them.
    You are a gifted writer, Mr. Dave. I enjoy your posts, so much…crafted like a fine BC Merlot, without the after taste.

    • thank you Graham. Yes…how many summers at ‘full speed’? That’s the question, isn’t it? I am vowing to make next year’s better than this one..which was mixed up, disjointed and not particularly restorative.

  2. Hello Dave – I wish that the back to school ad (where the parents are overjoyed at shopping for “staples” and the kids, well not so much) well I wish that ad would go by the way of other ads where you can google them to remember what once was – kids to me, exemplify all that is innocent & pure – I was watching 2 young girls & thier Mom at a coffee house recently – their behaviour was perfect for their tender young age, a real joy to watch the 2 sisters care for each other – I was at the counter getting my lid when the eldest came up for a straw – I couldn’t resist to let her know that she was very sweet – her answer was to let me know that I was very tall, me being 5 foot 4 inches and her, well she came up to my waist, just barely, she had the perfect reply back for me that day – I hope that she enjoys many summers as a child before the real life complexities catch up to her – those commercials are mean spirited and I agree with everything you say about that and also about my summer in 2013 – I did have a great visit in Gibson’s this Spring and I will be back to visit your beautiful British Columbia, I have to say that Gibson’s was my most beautiful event this year – I’m looking forward to your stories online, your new job, so to speak, I’m sure that they will be worth my time spent there – thank you in advance Dave!

  3. So true and so well said Dave. I used to LOVE getting my box of Laurentian colored pencils! How times have changed.

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